As you (and your floors) are likely aware, life happens. Maybe you’ve been maintaining your floor with a hardwood vacuum throughout the years but realized they’ve still ended up looking old and dirty. Or maybe you haven’t and now realize they look a lot more stained than before, either way this article is designed to help you.
With deep cleaning, your flooring will be restored to a condition where you’ll want to invite the whole neighborhood inside not to make friends, but just to show off your “new” wood floors.
1. Vegetable Oil Soap (like Murphy’s)
This is my go-to method for stripping away dirt and grime. It will involve getting down on your hands and knees with a paper towel, or a mop may work too. While it only works on a surface level and won’t go beyond the finish, it can work wonders for you.
I have personally seen it take away grime that was days old and there is no reason it wouldn’t work on dust that is much, much older. If it’s a layer of dust you need to safely get through, you’ll find this soon being your go-to as well.
2. Hardwood Floor Cleaner (try JAWS)
If you feel oil soap isn’t enough, search for concentrated hardwood floor cleaners. These can be harmful, so make sure you dilute them in the appropriate amount of water before using them. If you do, you’ll find that these offer the best deep cleaning possible through sprays and soaps alone. They can even get rid of some serious stains with no effort at all.
If you’ve got stains and nothing else seems to be working, give this magical elixir a try and I’m sure you’ll be just as amazed as I first was.
3. Use Steel Wool (ONLY FOR OILED FINISHES)
If you have an oiled finish (also called a soft finish) you can substitute a paper towel or cloth for steel wool and wax. Use the steel wool to wipe the stain away.
If necessary wax and buff the area after. The best way to tell if you have an oiled finish is to try the other methods. If the stain remains and is absorbed into the wood it is likely a soft-oiled finish.
Please note: if your floors have been refinished or if they are new you most likely do not have an oiled finish.
4. Sanding and Refinishing
When all else fails, or you’re convinced it will fail, you can sand away the top layer of finish. This will achieve an effect similar but more extreme to that of the steel wool mentioned previously.
You will be able to sand away any imperfections in the wood, even marks and scratches.
Afterwards, apply a water-based polyurethane as a finisher and let it dry for 3 hours.
If this sounds like too much work you can hire professionals to refinish for you (just make sure you get a quote first).
Following these 4 steps will have you walking on a clean, pristine floor in no time. Try them in the order listed as they go from least effort to most effort. The first 2 steps will likely be all the deep cleaning you need, but the last two are listed in case you have an extra tough stain.
Enjoy your good-as-new flooring, just do us all a favor and try not to brag too much.